Sanjay's (name changed) doctors were astonished that he had made it this long without falling into a coma. His blood sugar was 7 times the normal level and he was rushed to the hospital unconscious. The signs had been there for at least the last two months, he just didn't know that his pancreas had shut down.
India is the diabetes capital of the world with over 70 million people living with the condition. Characterised by the body's inability to break down sugar, diabetes often goes undetected in most adults because of people, like Sanjay, are not aware of what signs to watch out for.
Poorly managed diabetes severely damage the body and lead to diabetic complications such as heart complications, stroke, glaucoma, and even Alzheimer's disease. By the time diabetes is caught, in most cases, the only possible cure is an insulin-regulated regimen.
A cure for diabetes is possible
Compared to other organs of the body, pancreas heal slowly. The healing process is very sensitive to the right management of blood sugar levels. A healthy pancreas has healthy insulin-producing cells in a region called the Islet of Langerhans. The pancreas of diabetics, particularly the Type 1 diabetes – don't produce insulin.
Type-1 diabetes is a life-long diabetes where the pancreas completely stop producing insulin. People with this condition at all times need to maintain the right sugar levels – even during sleep. Especially for them, a respite will give them a fair, fighting chance to fight diabetes.
One team of doctors is working on setting up a lab to transplant healthy islet cells into a diabetic patient's pancreas to spark regeneration of the pancreas. Compared to complicated pancreatic transplants, this is an easier, safer and cost-effective way to give relief to diabetic patients.
The team that wants to make pancreatic islet transplant viable in India
Dr Anand Khakhar, Program Director, Centre for Liver Diseases and Transplantation at Apollo Hospital in Chennai is the mind leading the project. Awarded the BC Roy Award from the President of India, he and Dr Anil Vaidya, who has performed the islet transplant at oxford are leading the team in setting up a lab to study pancreatic transplant.
The method has already had some international success. “There are only 14 labs in the world that study islet cell isolation, with none in Southeast Asia. We believe that India needs at least one such a lab. Our attempt will be yet another milestone in India's leadership in the healthcare industry,” says Dr Nithyagautam, Co-investigator in the project.
This method has the scope to transform the lives of diabetic patients in India. Especially Type-1 diabetics can finally stop living in a constant state of fear regarding the consequences of fluctuating blood sugar levels.
You can be a part of this ambitious milestone project too. Contribute now and help to create a better future for diabetics.